Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS

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Brand and Model:Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
Price ($USD):$2999.95
Attributes: checked Go-To checked PEC
Aperture:279mm (11")
f Ratio:f/10
Focal Length:2800mm
Electric Power:AC Adapter
Tripod:Adjustable Heavy Duty
Weight (lbs):65+26 lbs
Dimensions (w/h/d):
Description:The NexStar 11 GPS is the culmination of years of engineering research and development delivering the ultimate instrument in Go-To technology and astro imaging. This large aperture telescope with carbon fiber tube is the first instrument of it’s kind to boast an integrated Global Positioning System and electronic compass, combined with the NexStar system, which makes this the most advanced telescope on the market.

It’s so advanced that as you turn it on, the integrated GPS and compass system automatically pinpoints your exact location and points to your first alignment star. No need to enter the date, time, longitude and latitude or even know the position of north.

Also new is our advanced Tour Function "search engine" that allows you to create your own customized Tours. This tour feature will search the database for any object above the horizon based on the users search criteria and generate a custom list of fascinating objects to view.

The NexStar 11 GPS is the most advanced, easiest to use telescope we've ever designed. It's the ultimate large aperture, portable telescope.

NexStar 11 Specifications:
279mm (11") Diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain
Focal Length of 2800mm
Focal Ratio of f/10

50,000+ object database
Flash Memory - allows software upgrades via the Internet
Storage for numerous user-defined objects
Database search engine to create custom Tours

Computerized hand control with backlit, dual line liquid crystal display (LCD).
Permanent Periodic Error Correction - Permanently saves and plays back corrections to reduce periodic error to a minimum.
Designated Autoguider port
RS232 compatible PC port
Auxiliary ports for add-on NexStar accessories

Dual aluminum fork arms with carrying handles and hand control receptacle.
5.625" precision worm gear on both axes
9.5" friction roller bearing
16 bit, 20 arc second resolution
Fastar compatible optical tube for F/2 CCD imaging
Adjustable height tripod
Telescope weight: 65 lbs.
Tripod weight: 26 lbs.
Made in the U.S.A.
NexStar 11 Includes:

Premium 40mm (70x) 1¼" Plössl Eyepiece
9x50 Finderscope
Star Diagonal - 1¼"
Visual Back - 1¼"
AC adapter
Adjustable Height Heavy Duty Tripod
Computer Hand Control for Go-To Tracking with over 50,000 Object Database
RS-232 Port to communicate with a PC
Nine Available Slew Speeds

Celestron's NexStar 11 GPS Page
Cloudy Night's Review
The unofficial Nexstar 11 GPS Page

Vote Highlights Vote
Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
Celestron had a few minor bugs to work out with this scope, mostly with the software/firmware, but it is now pretty much "there," (though Celestron continues to improve and update the firmware)--it's very reliable and very impressive.

I down-checked the scope slightly on the "mount" category due to the fact that the standard heavy-duty tripod shipped with the scope is just a little light for CCD imaging. But with the supplied vibration reduction pads, it is more than adequate--and is outstanding for visual use.

My greatest praise for the scope, though, has to do with its elegant simplicity. Sure, bells and whistles, GPS and computers, are nice. But what really makes this scope a winner is its ease of use. To look at M51, for example, hit the "M" key, type "051," and hit enter. The scope hums and goes there--no menus to navigate, etc. My scope easily puts any object I request in the field of a 12mm Nagler at 220x.

The NS11 is both solid and attractive, with its carbon fiber tube getting a lot of second looks, and the C11 optics set is definitely the best its ever been. My other favorite scope, a 1994 Ultima C8 has what I consider outstanding optics, but the 11 bests it.

Finally, no scope is worth a hoot if it's so hard to move and set up that you won't use it. Admittedly, a C11 is a big SCT, but combine the excellent ergonomic handles on the NS11 with the ability to mount the scope alt-az, and it is NOT a hassle to get erected.

I've owned a lot of SCTs over the years, and this has the signs of becoming my favorite one so far! Two thumbs up. If you want a larger aperture goto scope, this is my recommendation: go get an NS11 before Celestron raises prices, which I'm guessing they will do.

As far as the competition goes, the new Meade LX200 GPS also shows signs of being outstanding...BUT...having only been on the market a little while, it's not quite as far along the development path as the Celestron scope.

Rod Mollise
Author of _Choosing and Using a Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope_

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 40 (Reputable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=92234

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
A very nice unit overall. It isn't quite as stable as the Nexstar 8GPS on the same tripod, but more than adequate visually and have had no problems with short-exposure CCD imaging. Very accurate goto and easy to align. MUCH better ergonomics than the LX200's I also use; no cables dangling and better handle placement. It feels much lighter than the 10" LX200, and the difference between this and the 12" LX200 is simply amazing. I would rather set this one up every night than either LX200 once a week.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:8 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 10 (Trustworthy Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=112611

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
This is my 'last telescope' (well, at least that's what I promised my wife). It's the largest aperture I can haul around without destroying my back. And what an instrument!

The optics are superb, The GOTO excellent, and the tracking virtually perfect. It's also very easy to use. With GPS, setup is fast and easy. I'm strictly a visual observer, and find the mount and tripod more than adequate - damping time after hitting the OTA is less than one second. Similarly, focusing produces no vibration. The drive motors are very quiet, and when tracking, they are nearly silent.

One of the more amazing things (to me) is the accuracy of it's GOTO's. One night, at around 9 pm, I had it slew to Mars, which was well below the horizon. Later, around 3am, I went out ot look, and there was Mars, dead center in the field of view! Doesn't get any better than this.

Gotta give this baby a 10!

Overall Rating: 10
Optics:10 Mount:10 Ease of Use:10 Value:10
Weight: 7 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=241003

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
The GPS is dead accurate, the object is always in the FOV of the included 30mm plossl. I'm no optical expert, but the fresnel rings when defocussed are concentric and round, and look equal on both sides of focus. But at high powers (185+)I'm not seeing tight stars. But that could very well be the NJ skies. Overall, I'm very happy!

Overall Rating: 8
Optics:8 Mount:6 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=509304

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
Really like this scope. Has better optics than my last 11 ota
which many people thought had really great optics.The controls work just fine and it allways puts the object in the ep. I give a 9 only because nothing is perfect and thats
true with this scope as well. Needs a little better tripod.
Great value and great scope.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:9 Mount:9 Ease of Use:9 Value:9
Weight: 5 (Veritable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=135599

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
I own one, that's right I'm commenting from experience using one. I love it! Optics are excellent! I have to say it has better image than the 16" LX200 in the college observatory.

The focusing mechanism is much improved over the C8 I traded in to get this scope.

The go to seems pretty darn accurate too. Considering variation in recorded observations for an object, I doubt any go to will be pin point accurate for all objects across the sky. Every object I have looked for has been in the field of view with a Meade 18mm Ultrawide. How much more accurate do you need. It is great to finally be able to find those dim objects I could not see (find) with my C8.

For those who think it is "junk," maybe something is wrong with yours (have you tried the 11 GPS or played with the NexStar 8 and assumed the 11 had the same mount issues). This scope is steady as a rock. Of course if you bump into it there is going to be some wiggle but it rapidly settles down (even if you don't use the supplied vibration suppression pads). Those pads help a great deal with the minor dec motor vibration someone mentioned.

As for the battery issue, I have to agres with the 12V arguement. Batteries are easy to find and cheap. As pointed out, if you are a serious observer for long sessions you will need additional power for dew removing devices, computers, coffee warmers, etc.

Bottom line, I love the scope! If you don't like Celestron, if you prefer Meade, etc. fine. Buy one. I'm sure they will be outstanding too! It seems this forum should be for constructive comments, not for someone saying thier toy is better than ours.

For the true amature astronomers . . .

Hope for clear, dark, steady skies!

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41188

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
Celestron NexStar 11 GPS

This scope is the first scope to provide the traveling amateur with a built in GPS system. For those unfamiliar with GPS it downloads
your location on earth via Lat and Long coordinates to the scope. Along with exact time. The scope also has a built in compass and level
in the right fork arm for finding North on it's initial alignment. The pointing accuracy of this compass is subject to variation errors from
magnetic North to true North. I live in Florida there is a scant 2 degree error here. My NextStar pointed 12 degrees off from North. I
have found from comparing three different units that this is typical. " It's no big issue ".

Build Quality is very good and Celestron must be commended for there fit and finish and very good use of design and castings. The base
houses a large gear turned via a worm with two 1.5" roller bearings supporting the fork arm castings rotating on the base plate.

Carbon Fiber is not new to telescopes it allows a low thermal expansion over a wide range of temperature. The material is extremely
strong and lightweight durability is not an issue the material has been used in Aerospace for many years. Celestron used the Carbon Fiber
as a selling point for the weight yet the scope is still hefty at 65 plus lbs. I'm glad they didn't try and tell us that they used it for it's
thermal expansion because the design of this optical tube would not matter. The entire optical tube is supported by two aluminum
brackets on each side of the fork arms. The design supports the Carbon Fiber tube by holding the rear mirror cell and the front corrector
in alignment.

Fastar design is built into this optical design and seems to work very well. My unit when unscrewed loosened the entire design and forced
me to remove the corrector and repair the secondary FastStar alignment ring. " Small problem " Look for more imaging using this at a
latter date. Celestron is suppose to start shipping the F 2.1 lens any day.

Pointing accuracy on initial alignment is not great plan on it being up to 20 degrees off initially this using the GPS startup. However don't
get discouraged because once you sink the scope up get ready. Out of the box this NextStar 11 is the most accurate pointing scope I have
ever used. The pointing accuracy when slewing all over the sky is just under 5 arc min this is better than my observatory world class
equipment can muster. " Celestron Wins The GoTo Pointing Accuracy "

Altazmith mode. There seems to be a vibration induced by the fork arm motor in this mode. When viewing Saturn at 500x The planet
looks a trace off in crispness. I have seen this before on Losmandy mounts. I decided to shut the motors off on both axis and was
rewarded with a fantastic view of the ringed planet. Since this proved it was the motors I further isolated it to not the RA motor but the
Dec motor. If you run the scope in North Equatorial mode the planet looks very crisp proving it's just some harmonic in the design.
I don't remember my Meade LX200 having this problem but I also don't remember using them in the Altaz mode.

Optical Quality The scope arrived very slightly out of collimation I adjusted the secondary and was in awe on how good the optical
quality of this scope is. Perfect Star test both sides of focus and even the optical tube settled in under 30 min. I did notice Celestron does
mark each optical piece for proper placement and it appears they were all hand assembled.

Perfect Star Test

Overall Rating: 9
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41172

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
Picked mine up on 8/22. Here's the good bad and ugly.

Optics: awesome, at least the views so far. Really. I'm not exagerating. Really. Still haven't had a good enough night to star test it but once collimated it gave great views of test objects in all categories. Both pairs in Eps Lyra were cleanly split; Lunar detail was great. Individual stars in M13 were visible right to the core. M11 was Wild.

Tripod: to be determined. My tripod has to go back because one leg swings out too far. Same tripod as Ultima 2000. With this scope on it, vibrations tend to be low frequency and large amplitude, but when they settled down the views were very solid. I haven't tried the vibration suppression pads yet; they'll probably improve things somewhat.

Finish/Workmanship: Beautiful to look at; looks very good and overall, finish was good except: tiny scratch on tube, lens cap doesn't fit properly and needs to be replaced. Cord is awkward to get in and out of its slot on the mount. A few marks on metal part of tube between focuser and attachment for visual back.

Tracking/Pointing: Very accurate. After 5-min GPS alignment procedure, puts otest bjects near centre of eyepiece field of view every time when using a 12 mm TeleVue Radian eyepiece (233x). I didn't have any tracking accuracy problems at siderial or lunar tracking rates. I'm using a 2" diagonal and heavy eyepieces, but the weight doesn't seem to be a problem -- I have a dew shield (Kendrick flexible) at the other end.

Ease of Use: Manual is good, but a couple of typos (e.g. central obstruction is NOT 2.75" as stated; more like 4"). Maybe this was a "cut/paste" thing from the Ultima 2000 manual! Setup was quick and easy. A bit hard to find the central post on the tripod when you're carrying a 65-lb cylinder. Hand control isn't very well lit, making it hard to read the key functions. Easy to read the display though. I'll get used to the key functions over time, but on a scope in this price range, I'd expect the text on the keys to practically jump out at me. My $200 cell phone key pad is better lit.

Other: Finderscope isn't as good as the 7x50 that came with my Ultima 2000, but on the GPS 11 you may not use the finder much! It would have been nice if Celestron had given me covers for the 40 mm Nexstar Plossl eyepiece. And by the way -- the diagonal and eyepiece aren't worthy of the telescope. I thought the images looked nicer with a 2" Everbrite diagonal and a TeleVue plossl (or any other TeleVue eyepiece) than with the 1.25" prism diagonal a Nexstar Plossl.

Overall Opinion: Nice scope. I really enjoyed the views I had last night (first night was ok at low power, but conditions were too poor to collimate, and it needed collimation, which I did easily last night). By the way--the plate which covers the collimation screws is a nice touch.

Ron Brecher

Overall Rating: 8
Weight: 3 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=41148

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
The Nexstar 11 GPS is simply the best telescope for the money. The optics and mechanics are far superior to the meade LX-200 telescopes, the controller is better designed and laid out... and it works well in sub-zero Canadian winters where the meade sunny-California controller fails at about -5C...the nexstar is very accurate in go-to, easy to set on a wedge or a tripod, very quiet oparating (where the meade sets dogs barking a half-mile off) and the XLT coatings do improve the light-gathering by about 0.3magnitude.... need I go on? Oh, the Fastar assembly, permitting f/1.9 imaging with an ST237 or Meade DSI... simply breathtaking.

Overall Rating: 9
Optics:10 Mount:9 Ease of Use:10 Value:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=472118

Celestron Nexstar 11 GPS
I purchased my Nexstar 11 GPS in October of 2003. Problems with the software developed almost immediatly. The motors on the mount would lock up and the telescope would not slew. I could get around this problem for a while but shutting off the power and turning power back on and performing a realignment. But this gets frustrating when this procedure needs to be performd many times during a viewing session. Especially when you just paid $3200 to view the night sky.

I called technical support at Celestron and they told me to check a few things, most notably the hjand controller or the power supply has improper voltage.

The problem got worse so technical support at Celestron (John) told me to send it in. Send it in!? This is a big box and a big scope and a great exspense. So in January 2003 I sent in the hand controller, a much smaller item. The hand controller was defective. They sent me a new one. One little problem with the new hand controller: the LED display assemply was loose. It moved around in the casing. But I can live with that. The scope would slew.

Now it is July 2005 and the tlescope needs to be sent in. And not just the hand controller. Performance has been degrading for some time, electronically speaking. The first hint of a problem was when the HIBERNATE function would not work. I would HIBERNATE the telescope, come back in a few hours and the software would not know the orientation of the night sky. John at technical support told be that this means that the lithium battery is dead. Located in the fork of the mount. This item is not user servicable and would need to be sent back. Well I can live without HIBERNATE. But, then I could not get the scope to perform a GPS alignment (or any alignment for that matter)!! Now I have a problem. I need to use the tlescope in pure manual mode.

OK, I can live with that. But now the altitiude motor drive will not work in speeds 8 or 9. So with all of these problems I had better send it back while it is still within warranty.

Yes I get a two year warranty, but that is just about up. At least Meade permits you to purchase extended warranites. Which I would reccomenmd you do if you have a Meade. I don't have Meade, but I wonder if Meade has problems too.

Aside from these short coming ( and they are huge problems), when the scope is working, it is a fine instrument.

The optics seem to be jsut fine. It has nice aperature. I would like to get a 14 inch Meade. (I got the fever). The Schmitt-cassegrain design is very versitile. TheDenkmeier bino viewer is an awesome and I mean jsut awesome accessory to have for the Schmitt. When using the Denkmeir Sky sweeper you have an F5 telscope. I use the binoviewer with generic plossl 32 mm eye pieces ( as reccomend by the salesman Gary at Hands ON Optics). They seem to work just fine and don't break the bank.

The mount seems to be solid. The Nexstar is quiet when it slew. The Nexstar 11 is easy to move and set up becasue the carrying handles are very nicley placed (as mentioned by the salesmen at Astronomics). I set the scope up nightly and I have not problem moving it. These are the main two resons I got the Celestron over the Meade. Also when I inquired about their products, Meade representatives were a bit less interested in speaking to me.

The optices are fine. I don't have many other high quality optical instruments to comare with though. Make sure your scope is properly colimnated. Schmitts are very sensitive to colimnation. Tighten the screws, not loosen.

Putting the telescope on the mount can be tricky. I hear that the Starizona attachment would help with this. I don't have such a device.

Overall. I wish I didn't have the electronic glitches. The scope is a joy to use when working properly. As I mentioned the scope has great versatility. I suspect that a telescope from any brand that is electronically integrated will have problems. It just seems that this one is very tempermental. Please note, that the problmes with the telescopes will never be covered in magazines because the manufacturers pay big bucks to the magazines for advertizing. They will not get bad publicity.

Even the retail sales outlets will not inform you of such problems. I called Astronomicss several times and told them of my problems. I ask if they get such feed back form other costomers. The answer is always NO.

Overall Rating: No Vote
Optics:8 Mount:7 Ease of Use:9
Weight: 1 (Unreliable Vote)
Link to this vote: http://www.excelsis.com/1.0/displayvote.php?voteid=447771

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